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The Willie Nile Band ~ 2016 November 19 ~ Iron Horse Music Hall ~ Northampton, MA

... by Joanne Corsano ...

Matt Hogan and Johnny Pisano
Matt Hogan and Johnny Pisano
click thumbnail to see a photo gallery of the concert

Band personnel: Willie Nile, vocals, electric and acoustic guitar, harmonica; Johnny Pisano, bass and backing vocals; Alex Alexander, drums; Matt Hogan, lead guitar and backing vocals; Peter Hoffman, electric guitar on three songs

Set List

Welcome To My Head - Run - Asking Annie Out - Hell Yeah - Heaven Help the Lonely - Cell Phones Ringing in the Pockets of the Dead - Give Me Tomorrow - Lonesome Dark Eyed Beauty [Willie solo] - Sing Me a Song [with Peter] - Rainy Day Women {Dylan} - Hard Times In America - Children of Paradise - Sweet Jane {Lou Reed} into Heroes {Bowie} - One Guitar ... encore ... Hard Days Night {Beatles} - Hear You Breathe


Scroll down past the video for review.

"Hell Yeah"

"Lonesome Dark Eyed Beauty"


Willie Nile played the second of two nights at the Iron Horse with his full band. He played mostly different songs, repeating just a few songs from last night. A highlight of the evening was "Lonesome Dark Eyed Beauty," played by Willie solo on guitar and harmonica. Another highlight was the appearance of Peter Hoffman, the guitarist on Willie's first two albums, who joined the band for a wonderful "Sing Me a Song." The crowd was bigger than last night and there was a high energy in the room. The crowd was having a rockin' good time, but I missed the tender side of Willie. There were no ballads. There was no piano. Every song was dense with guitar playing, even when sparser playing would have shown off the song to better advantage. Songs like "Hear You Breathe" and "Children of Paradise," midtempo, melodic rockers in their recorded form, were presented as fast and very noisy rockers with little regard for nuance or subtlety. It's apparent Willie is having a great time being a Star in a Real Rock Band, and there's no doubt that Johnny and Matt are also having fun, but these two shows were diminished by the lack of pacing and lack of variety. Many other times I have seen Willie in a more stripped-down setting, when in addition to playing uptempo rockers, he also plays the piano, sings ballads, tells wonderful stories, and shows the audience what a really great songwriter he is. Those types of shows are the shows that really present Willie's skills in their best light.

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